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In the history of American Idol, the second-place finisher has always been guaranteed an album deal — from Justin Guarini to Lauren Alaina, the runner-up has had a legit shot. But could things be different for Jessica Sanchez?

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According to the Associated Press, the opportunity to record an album comes with an advance of at least $175,000. But Sanchez's contract dictates that her payout could amount to as little as $30,000.

Why? Well, 19 Recordings Inc., which handles the recordings of Idol alumni, made a significant change in contestants' contracts this year: they replaced the guaranteed album deal for the runner-up with a “Development Period.” This means Jessica could be asked to record just four songs (which would equal her $30,000 advance). She could be asked to record an EP (between four and 10 songs, for which she would receive a $60,000 advance). And of course, the possibility still exists that Jessica could record an entire album, thereby securing the same $175,000 earned by previous runners-up. It all depends on what 19 Recordings wants to do.

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It's not such a great situation for Jessica fans, but according to analysts, it makes sense: this year's Idol finale was the lowest-rated ever, down 32 percent from 2011. Plus, consumers have a tendency to buy singles more than complete albums, so this saves 19 Recordings money and gives them the freedom to feel out the market. As we know, Idol runners-up can be either extremely successful (oh hi, Adam Lambert) or, well, not successful at all (sorry, most of the rest of you).

Anyway, if Jessica fans want an album, they better start campaigning!

 

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